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The prices of goods and services one step shy of the consumer level -- the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand -- barely budged last month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the inflation gauge inched up a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in June following no change in May and an 0.5% surge in April.

For the 12 months ended in June, the PPI was up 2.0%.

Services prices on the rise

The cost of services was responsible for 80% of the increase with an advance of 0.2% -- the fourth consecutive increase.

A major factor was prices for securities brokerage, dealing, investment advice, and related services (+0.4%). Costs for machinery and equipment wholesaling, loan services (partial), insurance, inpatient care, and truck transportation of freight also rose, while apparel, footwear and accessories retailing prices fell 3.7%.

The cost of goods

Goods prices edged 0.1% higher in June following a 0.5% decline a month earlier.

The advance was led by meat prices which shot up 5.5%. Pharmaceutical preparations, light motor trucks, young chickens, potatoes, and butter also rose. Gasoline, on the other hands, fell 1.1% with fresh vegetables (except potatoes), plastic resins and materials, and unprocessed finfish also dropping.

The “core” rate of wholesale inflation, which strips out food, energy, and trade services, was up 0.2%. For the 12 months ended in June, it rose 2.0%

The complete report may be found on the BLS website.

Jobless claims

In a separate report, the Labor department (DOL) says initial jobless claims were lower last week.

The number of people filing first-time applications for state unemployment benefits totaled 247,000 in the week ending July 8, down 3,000from the previous week's level which was revised upward by 2,000.

The less volatile 4-week moving average rose 2,250 from the previous week's upwardly revised average to 245,750.

The full report is available on the DOL website.



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